It’s no secret that B2B sales and marketing teams are inundated with content. But what exactly do they want to see? And how can you tell if your content is working or not?
To find out, we asked almost 600 experts from the industry to share their insights on the content that B2B sales and marketing teams want.
586 people took the time to answer our questions—lucky us.
Our mission at Leadfeeder is to help fellow B2B marketers and salespeople hit their KPIs every quarter.
In this survey, we asked about your specific content “wants”:
What topics are you most interested in?
Where do you look for content?
What types of content do you like best?
Do you prefer long or short-form content, and why?
What type of videos do you choose to watch?
What social media platforms do you use to follow companies?
In this post, I'll share our findings and provide insights that’ll help shape your B2B content marketing strategy.
On paper, modern B2B sales and marketing are tightly integrated with each other, with a seamless transition between the two. In reality, though, the customer handover from B2B marketers to sales people doesn't follow the linear pattern it used to.
And it's not the buyer who experiences the hiccup but the seller/supplier. Why? Because there's been a paradigm shift.
Until recently, sales would get buyers from marketing and guide them through the funnel. It worked like a well-oiled mechanism in full manual mode.
Note: We have an entire piece dedicated to B2B sales. The article explains in great detail what the process entails, how it differs from that of a B2C transaction, and lists essential strategies.
Today, B2B buyers need less courting. They value their independence when it comes to purchasing decisions. Instead of being handled by sales reps, B2B customers prefer to find all the relevant information and make an unbiased strategic choice.
This has two consequences:
To engage B2B buyers, sellers must provide them with the right info about their product/service at the right time. The distribution method matters, too: different customers prefer different mediums and platforms, so sellers must tailor their messages accordingly.
B2B marketing & sales need to reinvent their relationship. Sales people are losing influence over the buyer's journey. There's no longer a definite point of handoff from marketing to sales—the old linear scheme just doesn't work. We all need to adjust to this new reality.
Surprise reveal: content is the key to solving both of those issues.
By creating and marketing their own content that showcases the product/solution, B2B sellers can win the hearts and minds of their audience, bringing them right into the sales funnel.
Content marketing does wonders for B2B sales, turning leads into paying new customers. No wonder it's surfing the popularity wave.
In a recent report, Statista found that 66 percent of B2B marketers worldwide plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2022.
In order to stay modern, B2B sales and marketing professionals need to constantly learn and follow current trends. That requires access to quality content like articles, guides, video tutorials, and case studies.
Another note: Feel free to read our comprehensive guide to B2B marketing. It covers everything from lead generation to advanced account-based marketing strategies and includes an overview of available tools.
Hey, we're not saying you should forget about good old SEO or email marketing. By all means, keep doing whatever works for you and your audience.
Let's see what our survey respondents were looking for on the web to please the content Gods.
The results here are hardly surprising—let's compare the first three for a more objective view.
The graphs below represent combined results from all respondents (sales & marketing professionals).
What immediately caught my attention was the popularity of B2B marketing content among all respondents. If you think about it, this is completely in line with the latest tendency of sales and marketing alignment.
And I’m not the only one who thinks that. The revered Harvard Business Review says that the days of traditional B2B sales and marketing are over, and we'll soon see an amalgamation of the two professions.
B2B marketing content rules all
Of course, marketers mostly care about marketing (sales content is a close second)!
But here's an interesting find.
Everyone in the sales department seems to have a keen interest in marketing content, too, except for two roles.
Sales and business development reps (SDR and BDR) show a much higher engagement with B2B sales and lead generation content, almost ignoring marketing. But with their very specific responsibilities, that's to be expected.
The decision-makers from both branches, however, want to stay in the loop when it comes to marketing. Once again, this goes to show how critical digital marketing is for B2B companies.
The combined results across all respondents also indicate that a good grip on B2B marketing always comes in handy, regardless of your position.
For instance, sales teams can leverage buyer intent data, which is a crossover from the marketing domain. Even deep in the sales cycle, data obtained during marketing activities can add to the knowledge of your buyer personas and increase your results.
But there's something else hidden in those graphs.
Account-based marketing is gaining traction
ABM (or account-based marketing) is a relatively new method for the B2B sector. Its essence lies in the highly personalized approach to marketing efforts for selected accounts. Oh, and it requires deeper integration with sales, too.
Notice how that pink bar has almost caught up with the red one that represents demand generation? This means that ABM is quickly becoming one of the most searched-for types of content.
A recent addition to the marketing methods arsenal, ABM initiatives accounted for an average of 15 percent of budgets in 2021, according to this Salesforce report.
One more side note: Read our in-depth analysis of the benefits of ABM, along with some honest advice on how to get the most out of Leadfeeder with that usage scenario.
Now that we're clear on the topics, let's discover the types of content that our audience consumes on a regular basis.
Before I get into specifics, let's talk about some basic rules.
Your B2B sales and marketing teams are made up of regular people like you and me. And we—regular people—often choose one type or piece of content over another for very simple reasons. We usually prefer content that:
Offers a lot of value
Is well-made and appealing
Doesn't bore us to death
Solves our particular problem
To sum up: people search for high-quality personalized content that can help with their pain points. And they're picky about platforms, so the right choice of distribution channels can make the difference between a successful marketing effort and a flop. But we'll get to that later.
Ok, it's time to look at some other chart - combined results from all respondents:
Right off the bat, we can see that case studies and video content are a hit for both teams. Also, managers consume the highest volume of content of all roles.
Are we at all surprised? No. Are we going to write more about those pretty colored bars? Yes.
Case studies/success stories
Everyone loves a good story. Especially when it ends well.
Sales and marketing pros search for success stories and testimonials for one reason:
We want to make sure that something works as advertised
By the way, you're welcome to check out some of Leadfeeder's success stories. We'll keep them coming.
Video is currently the most ubiquitous online medium, period. You can find literally any content you need on YouTube and Vimeo, and platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are now prioritizing video as a marketing tool–even going so far as to reward you for using new video tool releases.
The format naturally lends itself to storytelling. It's perfect for it. Anything can be a video: a blog, a tutorial, a case study, an interview, or a webinar.
While we're here, let's also see what types of video content our survey participants like the most.
Pure, undiluted value is what we want. The more value we can get from a video without spending the whole day glued to the screen, the better. Concrete tips and solid advice from people (and animated characters) who know what they're talking about.
The bottom line: we promise to shoot more Leadfeeder videos for you to enjoy.
Blogs seem to have been around since the advent of the internet, yet they remain surprisingly popular, coming in third in our overall rating.
Producing regular, value-packed blog posts is a great way to create touch points between your B2B business and your audience. Capitalize on thought leadership and build trust by always delivering on your promises and addressing the readers' pain points.
Loyal visitors of your blog can one day convert into your ideal customers.
At least that's what we hope for when we create our posts the Leadfeeder way.
If your eyes are sore from watching marketing videos on YouTube, switch to audio. You can play your favorite podcasts while driving, working out, or sitting in a meeting room.
Interviews with experts
Coming in fifth in the overall rating, interviews were also voted as the third favorite type of video content. What does it tell us? A name is not enough. We want a face behind those tips and tricks, someone whose words carry weight, someone we can trust.
Webinars are incredibly popular for a number of reasons:
They usually pack a lot of information in a condensed, easy-to-digest format
They can be recorded for viewing later
People love sticking unicorn-themed band-aids over their webcams just in case
Here's a B2B content marketing webinar for you to watch. Yes, I’ve shamelessly slipped you some Leadfeeder content again. Can't help it, it's just too good!
Social media posts
Social media is great for keeping in touch with your audience in a non-intrusive way. With methods like email marketing, readers often feel annoyed when constantly bombarded with incoming mail. And the unread message anxiety is very real.
With Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, people have more control over who to follow and what to see in their feeds. Keeping the posts interesting without being too clickbait-y is the recipe for success.
There are other content types B2B companies use to connect with their audience: ebooks, guides and white papers, listicles, and newsletters. The options are almost limitless.
Our survey results clearly show that people in the B2B sales & marketing business are keen on self-education. They use every opportunity and all available mediums to get better at their craft.
Where do you stalk your B2B marketing celebs? Because, let's be honest — we all like to follow influencers, opinion leaders, and trendsetters.
However, some B2B brands aren't half bad at maintaining social media presence themselves.
For instance, you don't expect IBM's Instagram page to be witty and fun. But it is!
It's a wild mix of product shots, historical facts, and employee stories. The choice and presentation of the content give the tech giant's account a personal, almost intimate touch.
The following graphs speak for themselves, but I don't mind elaborating on the visual aids.
LinkedIn is winning the social media platform race, according to our respondents. The fact that it was designed as a network for professional interactions, along with its rich multimedia capabilities, definitely gives it an edge.
Twitter is all about concise messages and sticky taglines — a perfect setting for dynamic B2B growth (and home to countless troll factories).
Facebook and Instagram harness the might of Meta's powerful advertising tools and offer the largest user base in the world. (FYI, Facebook is approaching a staggering 3 billion active monthly users as of Aug 22, 2022, and Instagram is expected to reach 1.44 billion by 2025).
There's no way around it: content now reigns supreme.
Content creation is a winning strategy for any B2B business. Original content will help raise brand awareness, generate leads, and fire up the sales process right when the customer is nice and warm.
Content consumption is a necessity for B2B sales and marketing teams. High-quality content can be a source of inspiration and/or education for experts in the industry. And a way to leave the competition in the dust.
We demand content that is informative and thought out. We also want it delivered on our preferred channel, be it a video platform, social media, or your website. And we love to see a friendly face on the other side of the screen.
So, make sure to incorporate these findings in your B2B marketing strategy.
Note: Try Leadfeeder for free with our 14-day trial.
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